: Comelec: Political propaganda use of emergency alert system is ‘ill-advised’

6 October 2021

By Cathrine Gonzales |

MANILA, Philippines — Use of the emergency alert system for purposes of political propaganda is “ill-advised,” the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Wednesday after alert messages appeared following the filing of a certificate of candidacy for president by former senator Bongbong Marcos.

According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, there is no penalty for the use of emergency channels for campaigning under electoral laws.

“However, it can be safely assumed that the emergency alert system operates under a set of guidelines, and it can be further assumed that such guidelines would prohibit the use of the emergency alert system for anything other than emergencies,” he said.

“Needless to say, the use of the emergency alert system for political propaganda purposes is ill-advised, at best. Whether or not criminal liability will attach to those who are behind this move will have to be determined by the appropriate agencies of government,” added Jimenez.

The alert messages were sent to those present at the Harbor Garden Tent of Sofitel in Pasay City after Bongbong Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, formalized his presidential bid.

The emergency alert used words that start with the acronym BBM or short for Bongbong Marcos. The hashtag #BBM2022 also appeared on the alert message.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said it did not issue the emergency alert.